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Sail Port Stephens - IRC Championship wins for Shogun and Rumbo

by Lisa Ratcliff - Port Stephens Regatta on 18 Apr 2010
Sail Port Stephens 2010 - 16/04/10 - Shogun Andrea Francolini Photography
It was a happy ending for Rob Hanna’s Victorian TP52 Shogun with a narrow countback win in division one of the Yachting NSW IRC Championship, just reward for their herculean effort getting to the start line.

Shogun finished on equal points with Matt Allen and Warwick Rooklyn’s Farr 40 Bandit, but took the Championship victory from the Sydney boat thanks to their five wins on corrected time from six races, with no drops.

“It’s always good to have a sail and it was a nice result at the end of the day. How can you knock this?” Hanna said motioning to the stunning Port Stephens playground as the sun set on the third annual Sail Port Stephens regatta.

“I’m not the greatest light air helmsman, having to focus for long periods gets to me after a while,” the winning skipper admitted.

According to tactician Steve McConaghy, Hanna did a superb job on the wheel, and the experienced and light-footed crew backed him to the hilt.

“We’ll be back” promised Hanna, dockside.

Shogun will return to Sydney for the next event on the blue water calendar, the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race in July, followed by Audi Hamilton Island Race Week in August, then back to Melbourne for the Range Series and finally, a crack at the big one, the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race in December.

It’s no coincidence the Farr 40s finished second, third and fourth on the division one scoresheet. Conditions were tailor-made for the class - 6-8 knots and flat seas - which meant the crew of the bigger TP couldn’t afford a single error.

In division two the local favourite, Guy and Clark Holbert’s Farr 30 Rumbo from Port Stephens Yacht Club, cleaned up the IRC Championship with a five point clearance back to John Streeter’s Bull 9000 Raging Bull. Tony Kirby’s X-41 Patrice Six from Sydney’s Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, placed third.

Clark paid tribute to his masterful tactician, Art Master, a Lake Macquarie sailor “who was the driving force behind the team and made us come together.”

Rumbo, which has contested every Sail Port Stephens since its inception, successfully overcame a rig issue and a resulting mid-fleet finish at the class’s recent national titles to score top points today against a hot Newcastle and Sydney fleet looking to snaffle some trophies as souvenirs.

Race five started north of Cabbage Tree Island following an hour’s postponement during which time crews took to the sea to cool off and enjoy some spinnaker surfing.

Roger Hickman’s Wild Rose flew a couple of crewmembers off the bow holding onto the kite - they were the only ones getting any air while the rest of the fleet drifted around enjoying watching Wild Rose’s crew being dunked, tea bag style.

As the clouds drifted over the course a breeze finally started to fill in, which meant the fun and games were over. Competitors dried off and headed to the race committee boat where they milled around looking expectantly at principal race office Denis Thompson and waiting for the AP flag to be lowered.

The first race of the day finally got away in the 5-6 knot south-easterly breeze which kept clocking left during the afternoon, race two sailed in an easterly with slightly more pressure.

This afternoon the delivery sails have been put back on and many yachts are pulling out of d’Albora Marina at Nelson Bay with their delivery crews while the rest join the end of school holiday exodus back to Newcastle or Sydney by road.

With racing delayed, it was a dash to Newcastle Airport this afternoon for six of Shogun’s interstaters, who were unloaded immediately after the final race onto a power boat and driven back at high speed to an awaiting taxi by the lovely Craig O’Brien, Sail Port Stephens organiser Jody O’Brien’s other half, just one of the many Sail Port Stephens volunteers.

Full results for the Yachting NSW IRC Championship can be viewed at:

For further information please visit:

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